A friend and coworker recommended that I visit American Discount Foods, a discount grocery on Southern Avenue in Mesa, Arizona. It opened at its present location in October 2002, according to its "About" page. Due to ongoing construction on Southern Avenue, the store is easy to overlook, but it deserves attention if you need low-cost, high-quality food and hygiene items.
The store has a patriotic/religious theme, with sections of the US Constitution painted on the walls, bible verse lists posted discreetly near the exit, and a display of all the flags of the fifty states around the perimeter of the store's ceiling. Although it may sound overpowering, the display is cheerful and festive, without being overbearing.
There is a lunch counter, complete with hard-packed ice cream and a breakfast and lunch menu whose prices hearken back to the 70s. But it is the Wheel of Fortune on the south wall of the store that delighted me the most. Growing up in Canton, Ohio, we still had a few lunch counters downtown in the early 70s, one of which remained open through the 80s. One was in the Arcade Market, one was in the Kresge store, and a third was in the McCrory's store across the street.
Both the Kresge counter and the McCrory's counter had games of chance that allowed you to get a discount on your purchase. Kresge had balloons filled with folded papers with a number on each one, while McCrory's had a wheel of fortune similar to the one at American Discount Foods. The fun of popping a balloon or spinning the wheel to see whether you got a discount made both stores a must-go destination, and I have the same bubbling nostalgia when spinning the wheel at American Discount Foods as I used to at McCrory's and Kresge. You get to spin the wheel at American Discount Foods each time your purchase totals over $50. So far, I have won a total of $35 in discounts over the course of five visits.
You may have trouble finding specific items if you rely on a strict shopping list, because prices and selection vary from one visit to the next. If you treat your shopping experience as an adventure, however, you will find several awesome deals on every visit. Look at the selection from a "what can I make with this" standpoint, rather than "is this on my list."
This week, I got precooked sausage patties for $1.49 a pound, 85 percent lean hamburger patties for $1.99 a pound, and Oscar Meyer Selects uncured chicken breast franks for 69 cents a pound. The franks have no nitrates or nitrites other than those from being soaked in celery juice. They are gluten free and have no added hormones. Last week's score was a case of 30 baguettes for just $2. The baguettes were 24 inches long and kept us in bread for a whole month, even after taking half of them to work on July 4th -- broken into 6-inch lengths -- to serve as hotdog buns for 80 of my coworkers (along with those delicious chicken breast franks).
Stop by the store this week and tell me what you find on your grocery adventure in the comments below.
American Discount Foods
1360 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 AM to 8 PM, Closed Sundays